COVID-19 Resources for Indiana Livestock Producers

For National resources, please visit National Pork Board website and archived webinars

INTERIUM GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTING SAFETY PRACTICES FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS WHO MAY HAVE HAD EXPOSURE TO A PERSON WITH SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED COVID-19

To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. 

The full list of interim guidance that pertains to critical infrastructure workers is provided below: 

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UNDER CARES ACT

List of current SBA lenders: https://www.sba.gov/

FAQ on paycheck protection program: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP--Fact-Sheet.pdf

APPLICATION

Indiana State Department of Health released Indiana State Occupational Guidance 

PERSONNEL IN CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE POSITIONS
Some personnel (e.g., emergency first responders) fill essential (critical) infrastructure roles within communities. Based on the needs of individual jurisdictions, and at the discretion of state or local health authorities, these personnel may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (either travel-associated or close contact to a confirmed case), provided they remain asymptomatic. Personnel who are permitted to work following an exposure should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer's occupational health program including taking their temperature before each work shift to ensure they remain afebrile. On days these individuals are scheduled to work, the employer's occupational health program could consider measuring temperature and assessing symptoms prior to their starting work. Exposed healthcare personnel who are considered part of critical infrastructure should follow existing CDC guidance.

Indiana "Stay-At-Home" Order

First and foremost, we wanted to touch on a couple of things about Governor Holcomb’s "Stay at Home" order for the state of Indiana. The order will be effective from Wednesday, March 25, to April 7, 2020. Luckily, Section 14(c) of Executive Order 20-08 deems agriculture an essential business and section 11 classified food production as essential infrastructure. Wisely, to clarify gray areas the executive order references the Department of Homeland security guidance. We have placed an excerpt of the Food and Agriculture list below to give you an idea of scope:  

U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response Food and Agriculture List. 

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products 

  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations - Carry-out and delivery food employees 

  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging 

  • Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically 

  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs 

  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers 

  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail 

  • Company cafeterias - in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees 

  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education 

  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments 

  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids 

  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce 

  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products 

  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution 

CRITICAL INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL 

Employers should consider providing their employees with documentation that their travel is essential. The National Pork Board has put together a sample letter, as an example for employers to compose a letter specific to their farm and needs. 

Indiana Specific 

  • Section 11 of Executive Order 20-08, Section 11 designates food production Essential Infrastructure

  • Section 14 (c) of Executive Order 20-08 deems agriculture as essential business

Michigan Requiring Letter Indicating Travel for Critical Infrastructure Workers

While Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky are not currently requiring documentation, Michigan is requiring a letter to be carried with workers traveling as part of a critical infrastructure sector.  Templates of letters to communicate with employees about the requirement as well as a template for the letter to be carried are available in English and Spanish on Michigan Farm Bureau’s website (https://www.michfb.com/MI/Coronavirus/).  If you conduct business across state lines, please use these resources to provide your employees with proper documentation.  Thank you to our partners at Indiana Farm Bureau for sharing.

Overweight Hauling During the COVID-19 Emergency Period

Indiana is currently operating business as usual for overweight loads.  There has been an emergency permit made available only for carriers hauling emergency response and relief supplies.  Please check the Indiana Motor Truck Association (https://www.intrucking.org/covid-19-updates.html) for the most current updates or contact the Indiana Department of Revenue’s OSOW permitting office, IndianaOSW@dor.in.gov or 317-615-7320.

Enforcement of Indiana's "Stay-at-Home" Order

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter has provided a memo to law enforcement on how to handle enforcement of the “stay at home” order.  We are sharing this so you are aware of what is expected of officers.  Hopefully this will help standardize enforcement across the state to maintain some consistency.  After an explanation of the executive order and types of permitted travel, here is the paragraph on enforcement:

 

 

To view the full memo click HERE.

Hours of Service Waiver Extended to Feed Haulers

As you know federal, state and local government partnership is essential at this time as U.S. pork producers continue to supply American kitchens and consumers around the world with healthy protein.

To that end, we wanted to alert you on favorable development today resulting from NPPC’s advocacy efforts:  

 

  • On March 25th, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it would expand the scope of its nationwide waiver for Hours of Service (HOS) rules to include feed deliveries. Last week, the agency announced HOS waivers to cover livestock haulers. The waivers remain in force until April 12, and could be extended if warranted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Business operations at the IDEM office have changed due to the COVID-19 "Stay at Home"Order

  • Due to IDEM staff working remotely, all paperwork MUST be submitted electronically 

  • When submitting electronically, please submit to the corresponding project manager to your county. You will need to reference this MAP. This will be considered the delivered document and the hard copy does not need to be mailed.

  • Please make sure that all email addresses are accurate.

  • After submitting a document, please request a response indicating IDEM has recieved your documents. 

  • Compliance inspections will continue business as usual at this time. If a compliance inspection request is made and you feel it will cause an undue burden because of labor shortages, concerns over exposure to those outside the farm, etc. please contact Indiana Pork. 

  • If problems arise as a direct result of COVID-19 outbreak (labor shortages, etc. ) might take you out of regulatory compliance, please contact Indiana Pork. 

Pig Farmers are familiar with "Social Distancing"

For many of us, social distancing is new and uncomfortable. We are having a hard time adjusting to spending time at home and not being able to come and go as we please. For farmers, this concept is not new. Now more than ever, our friends and neighbors outside the livestock industry might be interested to learn that Indiana's hog farmers have implemented strict biosecuirty protocols for years- one component of which is essentially "social distancing" from pig sites.

 

Sickness can spread quickly among livestock. Much like social distancing for humans, the complete elimination of all disease is not the goal – the goal is to keep out pathogens to which the herd has not been exposed. Biosecurity measures protect the health of the pigs, and in turn, protect the food supply and the health of consumers. Biosecurity is an important part of a farmer’s job. The list below is very familar to all of you, but now might be of greater interest to the general public.

 

  • The herd should be located as far as possible from any other swine or livestock.

  • Visitors should be kept to a minimum and should have no pig contact for at least twenty-four hours before arriving on the farm.

  • A sign-in book should be maintained for all visitors.

  • All visitors are required to wear clean clothing and boots – in many cases, this means a disposable coverall and plastic shoe covers.

  • Employees are required to shower-in before coming into contact with the herd.

  • Between herds, all rooms are cleaned thoroughly with a high-pressure washer and disinfected with a broad-spectrum cleaner.

 

In summary, Indiana’s hog farmers are happy to see the level of attention that’s being paid to the transfer of virus right now - it is something our industry has been very cognizant of for a while, and that’s why we have such stringent biosecurity protocols. Often, people believe that we want to be closed off from the public or that we’re trying to be secretive about our production practices. But that is not the case - we are simply trying to protect our pigs and our workers the same way that, right this very moment our friends and neighbors are trying to care for their families.

Pork Industry Communication about Critical Infrastructure Designations 

National Pork Producers Council submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security explaining how broad the classification of essential infrastructure would have to be to keep the pork industry functioning. At the state level, Indiana Pork submitted a similar letter. Both letters can be accessed below. 

DIY Dust Masks

If you are experiencing shortage of dust masks for your barn employees, there are resources avaliable to make your own. We wanted to share a video that was provided by a producer. 

Other Helpful Links and Resources

Coronavirus information can be found on the CDC website

All executive orders that have been placed due to COVID-19

THE CRITICAL INDUSTRIES HOTLINE: 877-820-0890 or covidresponse@iedc.in.gov

A new Indiana hotline for business and industry questions related to the stay-at-home order (EO-20-08) 

Indiana Pork will periodically be sending email communication to producers with updates and changes to industry operations during the COVID-19 outbreak. To subscribe, please contact the office. Past newsletter issues will be posted here. 

For pork recipes

National Pork Board

National Pork Producers Council

We Care

Every individual throughout the pork supply chain has a role in building and maintaining trust in the industry. From facility owners to animal caretakers to drivers who transport hogs, everyone has the responsibility to do his or her part to demonstrate a commitment to responsible pork production. This begins with a pledge to uphold a core set of ethical principles. These principles make clear the industry’s values in food safety, animal well-being, worker safety, community outreach and protection of both the environment and public health.

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